After a lengthy absence, I’m back with another review of a straight-to-video film I found on Amazon Prime. For your consideration today, I present Carver, a 2008 release written and directed by Franklin Guerrero Jr.
If you follow this blog, you’ve probably noticed that my reviews tend to be fairly upbeat; I usually write about films I’ve enjoyed in spite (or sometimes because) of their flaws, and I (generally) focus primarily on their positive aspects. Unfortunately, Carver is one of those rare films I actively disliked. It has little going for it in terms of entertainment value; it might be the first film I’ve reviewed that falls short of my usual 39¢ movie standards.
That’s not to say that Carver didn’t have the potential to become a fine film. The locations, costuming, and effects are all quite good. The actors’ performances, though not particularly memorable, are competent. Writer/Director Guerrero even manages a fairly fresh take on what’s becoming a tired trope: a horror movie about making a horror movie. So what was my problem with Carver?
For one thing, Carver offers very little in the way of character development. At best, our cast members are one-dimensional clichés; at their worst, they become annoying or wholly unlikable. It was difficult for me to muster up any concern for their welfare. The script failed to create a convincing feeling of suspense or a satisfying backstory for the events portrayed in the film. Similarly, it made little attempt to establish a motive for the killer’s actions. Significant plot holes and logical inconsistencies challenged my suspension of disbelief at multiple points in the narrative. Finally, as a photographer, I was bothered by several practical errors in Carver’s portrayal of the photographic process; admittedly, this last point probably wouldn’t trouble most viewers.
What the film does provide – in abundance – is stomach churning, gore-splattered violence. The killing scenes are unnecessarily graphic and (in my opinion) overly long. Two scenes in the film provide flimsy excuses for the filmmakers to detour into juvenile, gross-out bathroom humor. Just to make sure all bases are covered, Guerrero throws in some drunken projectile vomiting about half way through the movie. While I’m not opposed to a bit of violence, disgust, and gore (I’m a big fan of both Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci), I find it difficult to appreciate a film that offers nothing else. My advice: Carver is not worth your time or attention. You’d be better off alphabetizing your DVD collection instead.